Following on from a week that saw appointment television like The Big Benefits Row, Age Gap Love and the heartbreaking Hunted, here’s what’s on over the next seven days.
Saturday 8th February
The Jonathan Ross Show
You do kind of have to feel sorry for Wossy. He hasn’t exactly had the best guests this series, has he? In fact, he hasn’t had the best guests since his move to ITV.
I don’t want to start sounding too much like Ian Hyland but if we compare The Jonathan Ross Show to The Graham Norton Show, the contrast in the quality of guests is obvious. For example, on the first show back after his Christmas and New Year break, Graham welcomed Sly Stallone, Robert De Niro, Jonah Hill and Carey Mulligan to his sofa. Impressive! Over on Jonathan’s show? Naomie Harris, Jennifer Saunders, Jamie Cullum and Paddy McGuinness made an appearance. Of course, there is an argument for British stars being more relevant to a British audience (plus Naomie Harris was in the much-anticipated Nelson Mandela biopic at the time) but, let’s face it: it hardly makes for inspiring reading, does it? Or viewing, for that matter.
So, is Wossy’s line-up any better this week? Well, yes to be fair. John Legend performs, Kiefer Sutherland discusses the new 24, Chris O’Dowd chats about his new film Cuban Fury (which looks very good), Emily Mortimer talks about her sitcom Doll & Em and Kevin Bridges explains why he’s not doing much at the moment – which does beg the question, why’s he on The Jonathan Ross Show?
Also today: The second semi-final of Splash! (ITV, 7:10pm); and Tony Robinson returns with Walking Through History (Channel 4, 8:00pm).
Sunday 9th February
Channel 4, 9:00pm
Directed by Danny Boyle, this one-off comedy drama stars a wide range of acting talent.
James Nesbitt, Jill Halfpenny, Jonny Sweet, Martin Trenaman and more appear in Babylon, in which Liz Garvey (played by US actress Brit Marling) is introduced by Chief Constable Richard Miller (Nesbitt) to revamp the police. Her job is to improve PR with the force – dragging it into the twenty-first century; the age of rolling news, smart phones and social media.
However, we also see some of the other cops at work in London, as cameraman Matt Coward follows them around for his fly-on-the-wall series.
Tonight’s 90 minute programme acts at the pilot. A full series of six episodes will follow later this year.
Also today: An 80s-themed Dancing on Ice, celebrating 30 years since Torvill and Dean’s success at the Olympics (ITV, 6:15 & 8:30pm); and Sir Steve Redgrave and Natalie Anderson are on All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:45pm).
Monday 10th February
Jim Davidson: At Least I’m Not Boring
Channel 5, 9:00pm
After what he has many times called the worst year of his life (having been arrested as part of Operation Yewtree), Jim Davidson was voted the winner of Celebrity Big Brother last month.
Now I wasn’t particularly bothered that he won. I shocked myself by forgiving his vile stand-up routines and “gags” and instead being happy for him winning. But then I remembered why he was kicked off of Hell’s Kitchen. I remembered that he last year compared the Paralympics to “f*cking Robot Wars”, likened a black competitor to “a Peparami” and, on the topic of the twenty three-times gold medal-winning Ellie Simmonds, stated, “I f*cking hate midgets…they’re horrible”. Of course, comedians’ jokes – however unfunny – do not necessarily represent their true views, but surely no one can deny that some of Jim Davidson’s routines are plainly unacceptable.
Anyway, controversies aside, this documentary charts the rise, fall and rise again of Jim Davidson – from his early days on New Faces to Big Break and The Generation Game, his arrest last year and then finally his CBB success.
Also today: Crime drama series WPC 56 is back (BBC1, 2:15pm); Danny Baker’s Rockin’ Decades (BBC4, 9:00pm); off the back the success of Benefits Street and The Big Benefits Row, Richard Bacon hosts Benefits Britain: The Debate (Channel 4, 10:00pm); spoof documentary The Life of Rock with Brian Pern (BBC4, 10:00pm); and the first of a three part series, Danny Baker Rocks the Seventies (A Bit) (BBC4, 10:30pm).
Tuesday 11th February
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Chris’s Final Answer
As you may or may not be aware, last week’s Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire? was in fact the last-ever. After fifteen years there are no more audiences to be asked, no more friends to be phoned and no more fifties to be fiftied.
Yes, I am aware that that doesn’t make sense. Just go with it though, please.
In this programme, the show’s host, Chris Tarrant, reflects on the past one and a half decades – from the six top prize winners (five of whom were clever enough not to cheat) to some of the most unfortunate losers.
Also today: Police 5 (Channel 5, 7:30pm) offers up crime prevention advice; 200 Nips and Tucks and I Want More! (Channel 5, 9:00pm); new dating show Sexy Beasts (BBC3, 10:00pm); and some magic in Troy (E4, 10:00pm).
Wednesday 12th February
Channel 5, 10:00pm
The press pack for Suspects claims that it is ‘an innovative new British crime drama’.
According to Dictionary.com, the definition of ‘innovative’ is, ‘something new or different’. That might be worth keeping in mind as I tell you that Suspects is an improvised series filmed in a documentary style. We follow a team of detectives in each stand-alone episode as they investigate a different case. That sounds remarkably similar to ITV’s 2012 improvised series, Crime Stories, which was also filmed in a documentary style, with each stand-alone episode following detectives as they investigate a different case.
I’m not suggesting that Suspects isn’t going to be good. I’m merely pointing out that it is not ‘innovative’ – well, not in the popular sense of the word, at least.
Also today: Line of Duty returns (BBC2, 9:00pm); Dominic Cooper stars in drama series Fleming, about the creator of the James Bond books (Sky Atlantic, 9:00pm); and documentary series First Dates is back (Channel 4, 10:00pm).
Thursday 13th February
For some reason, this series of Benidorm has attracted some criticism. Many have stated that it has been the weakest run to date but I completely disagree – I don’t think I’ve found the show this funny since the second series! It’s rude, crude and borders on the ridiculous but also simply brilliant!
Plus it stars Danny Walters. *Swoon*
Anyway, back to the matter in hand. This week’s episode is the last in the series and sees a clash for the Garveys and the Dykes, Joyce put under pressure and some very big guests turn up in the form of Rustie Lee, the Krankies and Joan Collins!
Rustie’s the main feature though, obviously.
Also today: The Hairy Bikers’ Asian Adventure (BBC2, 8:00pm); The Kidnapping of Shergar (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Bible Hunters (BBC2, 9:00pm); and the best bits of Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe (BBC2, 10:00pm). His coverage of Hayley’s death on Corrie was a particular highlight for me.
Friday 14th February
Student Nurses: Bedpans and Bandages
Beginning tonight, this eight-part series follows the work of trainee nurses in Manchester and Birmingham.
Over the course of the series, we get to know the students as they try their best to cope with the struggles on the wards, in training and at home. Hopefully it will also show the NHS in a good light, given its recent bad rap in the papers.
May I also just say happy Valentine’s Day to all of the singletons out there? I shall be spending 14th February in London, surrounded by many of my friends who are in relationships. Let’s all share the pain of singletude, eh?
Also today: Vernon Kay, Miles Jupp and Kelly Hoppen are on Room 101 (BBC1, 8:30pm); Ian Botham is the subject of the last Life Stories of the series (ITV, 9:00pm); Peter Kay: Live & Back on Nights concludes (Channel 4, 9:00pm); more Alan Davies: Après Ski (BBC2, 10:00pm); and Matt Damon, Hugh Bonneville and Paloma Faith round-off the current series of The Graham Norton Show (BBC1, 10:35pm).
Are you particularly looking forward to any of these shows or is there something else from the world of TV which you want to have your say about? Feel free to comment below or tweet me –@UKTVReviewer.
Image credits: The Jonathan Ross Show – Thanks to Nicky Johnston, ©ITV; Babylon – Thanks to Channel 4 and Dean Rogers; Jim Davidson: At Least I’m Not Boring – Thanks to Five; Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Chris’s Final Answer – Thanks to ITV, ©Sony Pictures Television; Suspects – Thanks to Five; Benidorm – Thanks to ITV, ©Tiger Aspect.